Gougane Barra National Park (Aug. 3rd, 2020)

After 19 straight days in the lab, I decided to go on a little adventure for the summer bank holiday. I rented a car, drove out to west Cork and spent the day hiking around Gougane Barra forest. I ended up hiking three different trails, covering both sides of the valley.

It was a really special place because the River Lee, the major river flowing through Cork City, starts in the Shehy Mountains, which create the valley in which Gougane Barra Forest is located. It was special to get to see the beginnings of a river I walk across almost daily in my own city.

Then walked down to the lake where I saw St. Finbarr’s church which is a small and beautiful little church built on an island on the lake, dating back to the 6th center. Saint Finbarr has a major connection with Cork City, as described by a plaque on the gate to the island: “The surrounding mountains were his cloister and the lake was for him the mirror of God’s grander, stone cells commemorate his hermitage, from here he journeyed the river-way of the Lee to become the first Bishop and founder of the church and city of Cork.”